Pete and Debbie are both about to turn 40, their kids hate each other, both of their businesses are failing, they're on the verge of losing their house, and their relationship is threatening to fall apart.
Devastated Peter takes a Hawaiian vacation in order to deal with the recent break-up with his TV star girlfriend, Sarah. Little does he know, Sarah's traveling to the same resort as her ex - and she's bringing along her new boyfriend.
Friendless Peter Klaven goes on a series of man-dates to find a Best Man for his wedding. But, when his insta-bond with his new B.F.F. puts a strain on his relationship with his fiancée, can the trio learn to live happily ever after?
Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) are turning 40. But instead of celebrating, they're mired in a mid-life crisis with unruly kids, debt and unhappiness mounding. Pete's record label is failing and Debbie is unable to come to terms with her aging body. As Pete's 40th birthday party arrives, Pete and Debbie are going to have to rely on family, friends, employees, fitness trainers, aging rockers and ultimately each other to come to terms with life at age 40. Written by
Judd Apatow is undoubtedly directly at the centre of the USA's comedy universe. Discovering and nurturing stars such as Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and Jonah Hill, and with movies like Superbad, Bridesmaids and Anchorman to his name, Apatow has earned the power to make movies about anything he wants, starring whoever he wants. And so we have This is 40, the fourth film that he has written, directed and produced (after The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and the far weaker Funny People). Starring his wife, Leslie Mann and two kids, Maude and Iris, and filmed on the Apatow's street, this is bordering on autobiographical- even Judd's 90 year old grandmother makes an appearance.
The movie follows the story of Pete (Paul Rudd, essentially playing Apatow) and Debbie (Mann), and their two kids, Charlotte and Sadie (Maude and Iris Apatow) who we met as supporting characters in Knocked Up, and whose marriage is flagging after 14 years. The story doesn't get any more complicated than that, really. Watching as this well-to-do family of four battles through a plethora of first world problems- they might have to move from their big house to a slightly smaller big house, children spending too much time on the ipad, etc- for two and a half hours sounds like it would be agonising and boring, and yet it isn't. The fact is that this film is so observant of the upper-middle class to which it's characters belong, so honest about the little, everyday struggles that they encounter, that it feels like it's real, and real is funny. Even with hilarious supporting characters played by Megan Fox, Melissa McCarthy, Jason Segel, Chris O'Dowd, Lena Dunham and Albert Brooks, the real stars here are the family of Apatows, who nail the nuances of inter-family relationships, with Maude Apatow putting in a particularly brilliant performance as over-dramatic older sister Sadie.
This Is 40 has been unfairly criticised for over-dramatising the problems of a rich LA family, saying that the parents come across as mean and the kids as spoilt- but that analysis is shallow. This film goes deeper than that, the characters aren't upset because they're losing money, they're upset because their relationship is falling apart, that they have secrets in their marriage, that they can't be honest with each other. People seem repulsed by the fact that a comedy about the rich is trying to earn the audience's sympathy- but why not? Can a comedy only be emotional if it's about the poor? I was sure that films like Four Weddings and a Funeral and Lost In Translation had already proved that this wasn't the case. But just in case there was any doubt, This is 40 is here to do it again.
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